from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A situation in which further action is blocked; a deadlock.
  • n. A drawing position in chess in which the king, although not in check, can move only into check and no other piece can move.
  • transitive v. To bring into a stalemate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state in which the player to move is not in check but has no legal moves, resulting in a draw.
  • n. Any situation that has no obvious possible movement, but does not involve any personal loss.
  • v. To bring about a state in which the player to move is not in check but has no legal moves.
  • v. To bring about a stalemate, in which no advance in an argument is achieved.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The position of the king when he can not move without being placed in check and there is no other piece which can be moved.
  • transitive v. To subject to a stalemate; hence, to bring to a stand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In chess, to subject to a stalemate: usually said of one's self, not of one's adversary: as, white is stalemated.
  • To bring to a standstill; nonplus.
  • n. In chess, a position in which a player, having to move in his turn, and his king not being in check, has no move available with any piece: in such a case the game is drawn; figuratively, any position in which no action can be taken.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. subject to a stalemate
  • n. drawing position in chess: any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check
  • n. a situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Obsolete stale (from Middle English, probably from Anglo-Norman estale, fixed position, from Old French estal; see stale1) + mate2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

stale + mate "checkmate"


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  • In chess, when one player is unable to move any pieces, the game is drawn. Historically, the result of this has been different. At various times it has been a win for the stalemater, a win for the stalemated, an illegal move, a half-win for the stalemater, and a lost turn for the stalemated.

    February 21, 2007